The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has praised the collective resilience of citizens for ensuring that Nigeria remains one despite many odds.
He called on Nigerians to continue to live in good friendship and neighbourliness even as he advised the political class to ensure service to the electorate at all times.
The President was speaking at the annual Conference and awards to prominent Nigerians organized by a Nigerian daily newspaper, Leadership.
“It is, therefore, our commitment to this ideal, the patriotic zeal of President Jonathan, the impartiality of the electoral umpire, INEC and exemplary conduct of the political parties, foreign pressure and other actors that we collectively disappointed the prophets of doom who had predicted the disintegration of the country after the 2015 general elections”.
President Buhari said Nigeria now occupies its rightful place in the comity of nations due to the firm belief in and practice of democracy.
“Our democracy has been strengthened by the outcome of the 2015 elections as our people now have more faith in the electoral system in the sense that their votes would count when choosing political leaders at various levels. We, the political class should build on the experience of the 2015 elections to nurture our democracy”.
He said the Leadership Newspapers have been in the forefront of promoting democracy and positive values that are necessary to achieve national consensus on the issues that tend to challenge our unity and progress as a nation.
“Our participation in today’s ceremony is therefore, a mark of confidence in the brand of journalism practiced by the Leadership Newspapers Group as it is a public acknowledgment of the contributions of the media to our administration’s agenda to defeat terrorism and violent extremism in the country, fight corruption and diversify the economy to create jobs for our teeming population and generally improve the standard of living of Nigerians,”he said.
President Buhari called on the media to always work with government in order to build a progressive nation “The media must continually see itself as true partner in the task of nation building and thus act in the spirit of patriotism at all times in the important role of informing the people of the country”.
Other Recipients of the awards were the immediate past Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan who conceded defeat and paved way for a peaceful Nigerian.
Professor Attahiru Jega also received an award for conducting a near perfect election that was not contested by the defeated ruling party.